Well, tomorrow’s NYTimes, anyway — Is the Key to Creativity in Your Pillbox, or in Your PC?
LOVERS do it. Athletes, too. And even students, cramming for exams. They all take pills to enhance their performance.
To some degree, many a worker involved in creative activity does, too, but with cups of strong coffee from the corner Starbucks or the employee snack room. â€œCaffeine is now a gateway drugâ€ that leads to a universe of ingestible mental enhancers, says Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a futurist and science historian in Menlo Park, Calif. â€œI foresee a day when the office medicine chest holds much more than aspirin.â€
[...] â€œThereâ€™s a strong fantasy element in the idea of a pill that can make people smarter,â€ says Mitchell Kapor, a pioneer in information technology. (He helped create what was once the worldâ€™s most popular spreadsheet software, Lotus 1-2-3.) Ultimately, such pills might face digital rivals if current trends in computer science continue. Engineers are busy designing better search engines and â€œvirtual worldsâ€ online where we can test ideas and share experiences with others in ways perhaps not possible today. [...]
[...] Which brings us to the big idea staring us in the face. By now it is clear that Big Pharma and Big Computing are running an unspoken race, to decide which technology â€” the electronic or the biochemical â€” can first deliver the magic elixir that gives humans vastly improved creative powers. Might we be heading, however fitfully, toward a new industrial age when Microsoft buys Merck to better compete with Google?